by Ashley Weeks Cart
This past Sunday marked the first of many weekly craft days I have instituted. I rounded up some fellow crafty gals to share in the joy of handmade goodness. Our first assignment: DIY Sweater Wreaths.
We started by rounding up piles of old wool sweaters – whether holey, out of style, shrunk in the dryer, or just hidden in the back of our closets from lack of wear – and came armed on Sunday with the sweaters already felted. We then spent the late morning into afternoon cutting up the sweaters, drinking mimosas, chatting, wrestling with wire, stringing wool scraps, munching on egg strata, experimenting with different baubles to embellish our finished wreaths, and consuming our weight in chocolate cake. It was quite the productive Sunday, and a wonderful way to cap off the weekend.
- Wool sweaters, felted (run through a hot wash cycle in the washing machine, then toss in the dryer. Repeat as necessary). Scour your closet and thrift shops/Salvation Army for discarded sweaters. We each contributed 3-5 sweaters, for a total of around 15-20 sweaters.
- Scissors hefty enough to cut through felted sweater
- Hanger wire – we used hangers from our dry cleaning
- Pliers/wire cutters to help in manipulating and forming your wreath structure
Recommended (albeit unnecessary) materials:
- Any embellishments (buttons, bells, ribbons, beads, etc) to add the finishing touches to the wreaths (use needle and thread to apply.)
- Cheesy, sausage filled egg strata
- Strong coffee
- Some good tunes
- Cake – delicious delicious (homemade) fondant chocolate cake
1. Begin by cutting up the sweaters into squares of around 1″-2″ wide. The squares do not need to be uniform – and they can always be cleaned up later by the person stringing the wreath. Please note the champagne flutes. And the experimental use of partially cut sweaters. And the epic pile of felted wool squares! And Sunny getting into the action – with a shot of the cake in the background.
2. Next, open up the hangers and manipulate into a general round, wreath form. They do not need to be exact, and we discovered that depending on the clothes we had had dry cleaned, the hangers themselves all varied so each required a bit of finagling. It was smart to use some of the actual hanger piece of the hanger (if that makes any sense) for the hanger part of your wreath (that could be hung on a nail, or wrapped in picture hanging wire or ribbon to then hang in your home).
Note: You could play a drinking game using the word ‘hang(er)(ing)’ with that last sentence.
3. Now begin compiling your wreath. You can punch the tip of the wire directly through the sweaters – no cutting necessary. We experimented with different ways of stringing the squares. You can simply push the wire through the center of each square and build up a dense wreath of squares lined one after the other. You can also fold the squares and push the wire through the folded edge to create a flowery, clustered look. Play with it! Have fun! It’s easy to remove the squares and start over if you don’t like the look you’re creating.
4. When you feel that your wreath is sufficiently loaded up with sweaters, connect the wires (again this will vary depending on the kind of hanger you used). Then play to your heart’s content with embellishing and decorating your creations! Here are samples of our finished creations.
Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Weeks Cart